Last name origins & meanings:

  1. English: nickname for a tall thin man, from Middle English, Old French cane ‘cane’, ‘reed’ (Latin canna). It may also be a topographic name for someone who lived in a damp area overgrown with reeds, or a metonymic occupational name for someone who gathered reeds, which were widely used in the Middle Ages as a floor covering, as roofing material, and for weaving small baskets.
  2. Southern Italian: either a habitational name from a place named Canè, in Bescia and Belluna, or more likely an occupational name for a basket maker or the like, from Greek kanna ‘reed’ + the occupational suffix -(e)as.
  3. French: Norman and Picard variant of chane a term denoting a particular type of elongated pitcher (ultimately from Latin canna ‘reed’), hence possibly a metonymic occupational name for a potter who specialized in making such jugs, or a nickname for someone who resembled one.
  4. Possibly an Americanized spelling of German Köhn (see Kuehn).
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